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Flash Player Basics Presented By Ashish Desai 1. Flash Player Basics 2 Began with FutureWave Software (a drawing application) co-created by Jonathan Gay.

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Presentation on theme: "Flash Player Basics Presented By Ashish Desai 1. Flash Player Basics 2 Began with FutureWave Software (a drawing application) co-created by Jonathan Gay."— Presentation transcript:

1 Flash Player Basics Presented By Ashish Desai 1

2 Flash Player Basics 2 Began with FutureWave Software (a drawing application) co-created by Jonathan Gay and Charlie Jackson. Animations added to FutureWave and called it FutureSplash. They Approached Adobe in 1995 to sell FutureSplash but Adobe turned them down. Macromedia acquired FutureSplash in 1996, contracting the name to Flash ( F utureSp lash ). The Flash Player was born in Flash became Adobe Flash as a result of Adobe’s acquisition of Macromedia.

3 Flash Player Basics 3

4 Flash Player is Single Threaded. Events are captured by Flash Player itself. No code can modify the Display List and Rendering component at the same time. Stage is the drawing board area for Flash. Stage is parent of everything you see in Flash Player in browser or standalone. Flash treats everything as a movie which it plays synchronizing itself with a play head (more on this in a bit). What is the default frame rate for a flex application? 24 Frames Per Second Typically a browser can produce 60 fps even if rate is set to 200 fps. 4

5 Flash Player Basics 5 Flash Player ships with two virtual machines (runtimes) – AVM1 and AVM2. AVM2 supports Action Script 3.0 specification. AVM1 is for the backward compatibility with Action Script 2.0 and Action Script 1.0 specifications. AVM interprets the ActionScript Byte Code (ABC) in the compiled SWF file into machine language. A Just-in Time Compiler (JIT) is included with AVM2 which converts similar looking byte code to machine language thus improving runtime performance. Constants, literals and numbers are JIT’ed always.

6 Flash Player Basics  What does SWF stand for?  The SWF (pronounced “swiff ”) stands for Shock Wave Flash & is a file format that delivers vector graphics, text, video, and sound over the Internet and is supported by Adobe® Flash® Player software. The SWF file format is designed to be an efficient delivery format, not a format for exchanging graphics between graphics editors.  Why are flex applications fast (SWF Performance)? ◦ The files are compressed to be small and support incremental rendering through streaming. ◦ The SWF file format is a binary format and is not human readable like HTML. ◦ The SWF file format uses techniques such as bit-packing and structures with optional fields to minimize file size. ◦ The graphics described by SWF files render quickly because only the calculations are transmitted rather then pixel by pixel rendering. ◦ Fonts, images and other external resources can be embedded without substantially increasing files size and hence lesser download times. ◦ SWF files are downloaded just once (incremental rendering) and run local in the Flash Player unlike HTML. 6

7 Flash Player Basics 7 The structure of a SWF File Header Tag defines version of SWF, compression, frame rate etc. Two kinds of tags – Definition Tags & Control Tags Definition Tags define contents (Display Objects) of the SWF File. Each definition tag is assigned a unique ID and stored in a Dictionary. A tag can refer to a tag before it but in no case refer to a tag after it. Control tags manipulate the Display List. Adding, modifying and removing items from the Display List. Control tags create and manipulate rendered instances of items in the dictionary, and control the flow of the file.

8 Flash Player Basics 8 Flash Player processes all of the tags in a SWF file until a ShowFrame tag is encountered. At this point, the Display List is copied to the screen and Flash Player is idle until it is time to process the next frame. What you see in Flash Player is the cumulative effect of the definition tags and control tags until the ShowFrame tag is encountered. ShowFrame tag is inserted by the compiler in the compiled SWF.

9 Flash Player Basics Modes of rendering: Immediate Mode Rendering Retained Mode Rendering What mode does Flash Player use? Retained Mode Rendering. What facilitates Retained Mode Rendering in Flash? The Display List & Timeline bound rendering 9

10 Flash Player Basics 10 The HEART of the Flash Player. Display List facilitates the retained mode rendering in Flash. Retained mode improves performance. Consider following code and that it happens in the same frame. var button:Button() = new Button(); addChild(button) removeChild(button); addChild(button) Flash players display list will render the cumulative effect of the above code which is addition of button to its parent. Effectively avoided two instructions improving performance.

11 Flash Player Basics 11 All Display Objects defined in the SWF file are stored in a Dictionary. Each object(item) is given a unique ID in the dictionary. Flash Player determines which items need to be displayed in the next frame. These items are selected from dictionary and placed on the Display List. 50% of each frame is dedicated to rendering, during which these items will be rendered. Changes to the dictionary and the Display List are controlled via various control tags that the compiler adds.

12 Flash Player Basics 12 Flash Player instance processes a constant loop of consecutive frames. Each frame consists of 2 parts: the execution of Action Script and a visual rendering of the screen by the Flash Player renderer. The execution of CPU-intensive Action Script increases time between each frame render.

13 Flash Player Basics 13 If the combined operations of the frame loop (code execution and rendering) take too long, the runtime isn’t able to maintain the frame rate. When the frame rate slows, the experience degrades. Animation becomes choppy. In worse cases, the application freezes and the window goes blank Debug player will given an exception “A script has taken more than X seconds to execute”.

14 Flash Player Basics 14 Typically a 20ms slice within a frame. The Marshall synthesizes frame rates. Slicing at various frame rates. Player decides on when to render or execute script.

15 Flash Player Basics 15 JPMorgan Chase & Co. All Rights Reserved Internal Use Only Avoid writing time consuming (CPU Intensive) action scripts User Timers carefully. Beware of infinite loops. Dispatch events with caution. Be careful while deeply nesting containers and Display Objects within containers. Use Binding with caution. Avoid Bindings when direct assignments are possible. Practical Example: An infinite loop in Account to Trading Navigation froze Flash Player. As frame expands to accommodate and continuously repeats the frames its called “The Elastic Racetrack”

16 Flash Player Basics 16 JPMorgan Chase & Co. All Rights Reserved Internal Use Only Flash Player uses a page allocator (GCHeap) to allocate large blocks (megabytes) of memory from the OS. The GCHeap then breaks the large block into smaller 4K pages and gives the pages to the MMgc. The GC then uses those 4K pages to provide memory for objects up to 2K in size in the system.

17 Flash Player Basics 17 JPMorgan Chase & Co. All Rights Reserved Internal Use Only For objects larger than 2K (bitmaps, videos, files, etc.), GCHeap provides groups of contiguous 4K blocks to a large memory allocator. When almost all of the 4K pages in a large chunk are allocated, Flash Player runs garbage collection to reclaim unused memory before the GCHeap attempts to allocate more memory from the OS.

18 Flash Player Basics 18 JPMorgan Chase & Co. All Rights Reserved Internal Use Only The heap is the memory allocated for any object created or initialized at runtime. Objects on the heap exist until they are garbage collected. The stack is memory that stores all variables that are defined at compile time. Stack memory is used and reused in a sequential manner.

19 Flash Player Basics 19 Flash Player and AIR use a combination of deferred reference counting and conservative mark-and-sweep. Deferred Reference Counting Each object on the heap keeps track of the number of things pointing to it. If the object has a zero reference count (nothing is pointing to it), it is added to the Zero Count Table (ZCT).

20 Flash Player Basics 20 When the ZCT is full, the stack is scanned to find any references from the stack to an object on the ZCT. Any object on the ZCT without a stack reference is deleted. Circular reference OR Islanded objects are not GC’s using deferred Reference Counting. A more sophisticated MARK AND SWEEP algorithm takes care of it. [mark] and [sweep] can be seen in Flex Profiler. Flash Player pauses completely while it is Garbage Collecting.

21 Flash Player Basics 21 An algorithm that traces an object from one of its GC roots. GCRoots are never garbage collected. All objects in flash have a mark bit. During Mark phase all objects that can be traced from a GCRoot will get their mark bit set. The Stage is a GCRoot. Loaders are GCRoots.

22 Flash Player Basics 22 Sweep Phase: During sweep phase all objects that are not marked are garbage collected. Weak references are not marked and hence collected when its not in use. Mark and Sweep is incremental.

23 Flash Player Basics 23 To run GC create more objects. Avoid creating objects in loops. If possible pool similar objects. Greatest example is ItemRenderers. Mark is the most intensive part of GC so create objects judiciously. Avoid deep nesting objects. Smaller GCRoot tracing. All applications in MORCOM run in single Flash player instance. It impacts all other applications when memory leak or performance degrades.

24 Flash Player Basics 24 Events & Event Propagation Model Flash Player Security – Sandboxing Fundamentals Flash Co-ordinate System – Content, Global & Local Adobe AIR – Integrated Runtime Improving Performance of Flex Applications Flash XML Sockets Flash Graphics & Drawing Internals of the AVM2

25 Flash Player Basics 25 OMG! No matter how hard I think, I still have questions.

26 Flash Player Basics 26


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